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Southwest Regional Reports

Cold-Hardy Succulents for the Low Desert

These tough plants can handle temperature fluctuations and freezing cycles

‘Ruby Hearts’ hens and chicks (Sempervivum ‘Ruby Hearts’, Zones 4–9) grows alongside hardy ice plants (Delosperma cooperi, Zones 6–10) and heuchera (Heuchera cv., Zones 3–8). Photo: Laurel Startzel

If you live in the Southwest, you understand how drastically the temperatures can vary from day to night. Sometimes the temps can drop 30 to 40°F, so finding plants that can withstand these dramatic changes is essential in creating a garden that flourishes. Keeping in mind that there are always special circumstances to every space, we’ll share several tried-and-true cold-hardy succulents that have proven themselves worthy of the name.

Texas sotol
Texas sotol may have skinny foliage, but it can fill up a large space, spreading from 3 feet to 5 feet wide. Photo: Laurel Startzel

Texas sotol

Let’s start with a favorite, Texas sotol (Dasylirion texanum, Zones 7–10), which is a fantastic way to add depth, texture, and movement to your gardens. Texas sotol (also known as desert spoon) is native to Texas and the Chihuahua region of Mexico. The skinny leaves are a beautiful light green with small spikes along the edges.…

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